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KIRK’S SHRIMP AND GRITS WITH A LITTLE KICK

August 4, 2014

This is a recipe for shrimp and grits that has been tinkered with many times. It is a true Southern dish with a distinctive Lowcountry flavor. We recommend Miss Maude’s Stone-ground Grits as the base.

It takes me about 1 ½ hours to prepare the entire meal. The recipe will serve 4-6 people.

MISS MAUDE’S STONE-GROUND GRITS

Miss Maude lived in Barnwell County, South Carolina. She was my step-grandmother. She cooked on a wood-burning stove. Miss Maude taught my dad how to make grits. Dad passed this along to me. I use authentic South Carolina grits made from corn ground between stones the old-fashioned way. The process leaves bits and pieces of the outer germ layer and, as Dad use to say, “It puts a little grit in your craw.”

The simple truth is that stone-ground grits taste nothing like the kind you usually find in the grocery store. Stone-ground grits take longer to cook, but they are worth the trouble.

1 Cup stone-ground grits

2 Cups cool well water (tap water will do)

2 Cups whole milk

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

Butter (not margarine)

  • Combine the water, milk, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of butter in a good sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Slowly stir in the grits and cook slowly. Miss Maude used a wooden spoon, stirring frequently. Dad used a whisk, and so do I.
  • She cooked the grits for 1 hour or a little longer. It is important to stir often so that the grits do not stick to the bottom of the pan. If the grits absorb all of the water and milk, take the pan to the kitchen sink and add a little more water as needed to thin out the grits until they reach the desired consistency. Miss Maude spent about as much time stirring her grits over the sink as she did at the stove, moving back and forth between the two.
  • Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in more butter. Serve the grits immediately or set aside for a little while. Warm over very low heat when ready to serve.
  • Some prefer cheese grits. Simply add shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese and stir.

KIRK’S SHRIMP CONCOCTION

1 Pound of uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 Diced Andouille sausage

1 Pound of bacon

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

Cayenne pepper

Olive oil

Butter

1 Medium sweet onion, chopped

Minced garlic

2 Fresh green onions, minced (Use both the white and the green parts.)

1 Can of Ro*Tel Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies

½  Cup stock, chicken

Sour cream, all natural cultured

Tabasco Sauce

Here is a hint. This is a six part process. I find that when I follow the steps in this order, everything is ready at about the same time. (1) Put all of the ingredients within reach. (2) Pour a tall glass of something cold to drink. You will be busy over a hot stove for the next 1 ½ – 2 hours. (3) Cook the bacon. (4) Start the grits. (5) Cook the shrimp. (6) Enjoy!

  • Cook the bacon – except save for later use in the recipe that scrawny, crumpled piece at the bottom of the package.
  • I prefer to cook bacon on newspapers and paper towels in the microwave oven. It needs to be crispy. Set the cooked bacon aside to drain.
  • Start cooking the grits as in the recipe above.
  • Season the shrimp with freshly ground black pepper, salt, and a little cayenne pepper.
  • Combine the olive oil and the butter over medium heat in a large skillet.
  • Add the shrimp and sear for 1½ minutes per side, then transfer shrimp to a plate.
  • Add more butter to the pan. Let it melt. Add that scrawny piece of bacon. Let it sizzle, releasing the flavor. It will not get crisp but leave it in the pan.
  • Then add the Andouille sausage and cook, stirring often, until much of the fat has rendered and the Andouille is crisp, about 3 minutes. Keep the heat at medium.
  • Then add the onion to the pan and sauté, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and green onions, cooking for 1 minute.
  • Add the Ro*Tel, and cook for 1 minute, then raise the heat to high and add the stock.
  • Simmer, stirring frequently, until about half of the liquid has evaporated.
  •  Lower the heat.
  • Add sour cream to the pan and stir to make a creamy sauce.
  • Return the shrimp to the pan, gently folding them into the liquid. Heat just until the shrimp are nice and pink. It will only take seconds. Do not overcook the shrimp.
  • Spoon the Shrimp Concoction over Miss Maude’s Stone-ground Grits.
  • Break off the crispest half of each piece of bacon, and sprinkle broken bits on top.
  • Serve the shrimp and grits hot.
  • Add Tabasco Sauce to taste.
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